The ‘Deutsche Reichsbahn’ Returns to the Harz Mountains!

Steam in Germany 17./18.04. - 23.04.2010

Mit Dampf auf den Brocken

By the end of our Harz mountain tour in April 2009, it was already clear that this event should be run again. Clearly it’ll be anything but easy to exceed the success of the tour in 2009 but for 2010 we’re planning something very special which will not be revealed here. The upcoming tour contains two options: one part is designed for the dedicated photographer and video film maker, the other is a parallel program for your partner. Both parts can be combined. The ladies’ special starts with a spectacle on the Brocken: the Devil’s Rock Opera. Any of the gentlemen who are interested may take part as well, of course.

Gefahr Damenprogramm: Brockenhexe im Zug

We have planned the ultimate photo and video tour to the spectacular metre gauge line in the Harz mountains. This is the tour many people have waited many years for. If you couldn’t make it in 2009, this is your second chance! Trains with compositions featured in our planned specials haven’t been on the rails of the Harz mountains since 1993, except during our charter event in April 2009. This tour will be totally different from the usual tours to the Harz mountains. Since running our tour last year, the opportunities have got even better. The HSB Railway can offer an additional transporter wagon, so we’ll have seven on our double headed train. The German Railways have already said that the required number of standard gauge two-axle coal wagons will be still available in 2010. Because of a special price calculation system used by the Harz mountain railway we can get the same price as last year, although all other charter trains are more expensive now. The marginally higher price is caused by the extra specials we’ve planned.

The Harz mountains are the most northern mountains in Germany and well known to railway enthusiasts. The reason is the “Harzer Schmalspurbahnen” which still operates a number of trains with steam throughout the year. The steam trains climb the Brocken, the highest mountain of the Harz. However, for photographers and video film makers the trains can be rather boring. There are super shiny steam locomotives with side tanks suitable for use as a mirror, red-beige metal passenger coaches with round roofs and metal-framed windows, combined with concrete platforms and the flags of western ice cream manufacturers at many station buildings. It’s hard to find a reasonable photo position. Of course we have to admit that the railway earns its money with these types of trains, but the real railway enthusiasts prefer the old style of trains. So we’ll arrange trains that look as they did 30 years ago. We’ll haul authentic trains and we’ll rebrand wagons and locomotives as “Deutsche Reichsbahn” – the former east German state railway that owned the rolling stock.

Mallet trifft NVA-LO3000  im Harz

We’ll cover the whole traditional network of metre gauge lines through the Harz. For most of the network we’ll travel with chartered freight trains. You shouldn’t be surprised when our train to the Brocken is boarded by East German border soldiers with Kalashnikov machine guns. This was just what happened in the 1970s and 1980s. The few supply trains for the border troops and radio spies on the highest mountain of the Harz, the Brocken, were always accompanied by armed soldiers. When you see an east German “plastic” car, a “Trabant,” parking at one of the level crossings we’ll pass, don’t wonder either! You’re not in the wrong movie, you’ve just stepped back in time.

The climax of the tour will be our double headed freight train, consisting of metre gauge transporter wagons with standard gauge freight wagons on them. For this train alone we’ve had to invest more than 7,600 Pounds to make it look like the legendary freight train 67092. This train was the last train of the former East German “Deutsche Reichsbahn” to have scheduled haulage by two steam locomotives.

The tour will be held in mid April. This will give us the opportunity to use the long lasting daylight and have the advantage of the winter schedule. In the winter schedule there are not as many trains as there are during summer, so we’ll have more time for photo stops on the line. The temperatures might be low, so we’ll have good chances for long steam exhaust above the train and for some snow on the Brocken as well.

Doppeltraktion im Harz

All train pictures shown here are from our Harz mountain back in time event in April 2009.



For good reason we must give a warning: this tour is only suitable for participants who want to come on our train. You can book days separately if you like. But the tour is definitely not designed to suit and will not work out for car chasers. FarRail Tours can not and will not monitor all movements of the participants and will hence not take liability for whatever happens to car chasers.

Doppeltraktion Nordhausen




Individual travel to Wernigerode, hotel in Wernigerode


Around 07.00 we’ll visit the workshop Wernigerode-Westerntor. Special freight train with three standard gauge freight cars on transporter wagons plus a narrow gauge brake van from Wernigerode to the Brocken station with one of the massive class 99.72 locomotives. We’ll travel in the guard’s van. Return bunker first to Drei Annen Hohne and continue chimney first from here to Nordhausen, visit to the depot in the afternoon. Usually there is only one steam loco in the depot, but for our group we’ll have three of the class 99.72 here! We have planned some night shots as well, hotel in Nordhausen


In the late1980s coal train 67092, Nordhausen – power plant Silberhütte, was somewhat legendary because it was often hauled by two locomotives of the class 99.72. On its original route, we’ll arrange such a train to Silberhütte. This train was the last triumph of steam in regular service in Germany. Return bunker first to Stiege. In Stiege we’ll take four freight cars and go up the gradient towards Hasselfelde. From the summit we’ll roll back to Stiege and continue with the scheduled steam train to Gernrode with side trips to Hasselfelde (train 8965), and Harzgerode (train 8964) (it’s always the same train, you don’t need to change trains anywhere). From Harzgerode we’ll take a charter bus to Gernrode, arriving around 18.30, hotel in Gernrode


In the morning we’ll take a steam charter freight train with one of the 0-6-0 tank locos of the railway (99 6101, 6102 or 6001) to Harzgerode and (bunker first) back to Alexisbad. From there we’ll go to Silberhütte and return to Alexisbad. In the afternoon we’ll arrange a spectacular double departure on parallel lines with the scheduled steam passenger to Hasselfelde, return by freight train to Gernrode, visit to the depot of Gernrode, hotel in Gernrode


In the morning we’ll take one of the Mallets of the railway on a passenger train from the late 1980s. We’ll use red/beige livery coaches but we’ll choose two of them with almost expired certificates. This way, the colour of the wagons will be a bit shabby, just like some of the coaches in the former GDR. Our train will go from Gernrode to Hasselfelde. From there we’ll either continue by train or charter bus back to Nordhausen (optional Wernigerode). Arrival in Nordhausen around 16.00, hotel in Nordhausen


In the morning (but today not early morning) we’ll start from Nordhausen to Benneckenstein with five transporter wagons with standard gauge freight wagons on them. In Benneckenstein we’ll visit a typical east German shop “Konsum”. Later we’ll continue to Wernigerode, arrival around 16.30


Please click here if you're only interested in the train programme.

Ladies' Special

Schloss Wernigerode




Individual travel to Wernigerode, hotel in Wernigerode, just opposite the railway station


Mephistoszene der Rockoper auf dem Brocken

Around 13.00 hrs we’ll head off from Wernigerode with the “Mephisto-Express” to the spectacular Rock Opera on mount Brocken (by the way the highest mountain in northern Germany). Beware! On the train there are ghosts and witches up to mischief. Arriving on mount Brocken you’ll see a fusion of Rock Opera and Musical, a sumptuous staged spectacle! After the first act they will serve you a Devil’s meal! If you survive all this, your train will bring you back to Wernigerode, where you’ll arrive around 21.30 hrs

Rockoper Ensemble


Around 9.00 hrs we’ll take a train from Wernigerode to the western Harz to visit the over 1,000 year old former Emperor’s city, Goslar. In 1992 Golslar centre became a UNESCO world heritage site. The town was founded in the 10th century after the discovery of silver deposits nearby.


Because of the rich silver deposits nearby the city gained the status of an Imperial City. The Mediæval Imperial Palace of Goslar (Kaiserpfalz) was built in the 11th century and became a summer residence for the emperors. We’ll walk through the historical city centre and see the impressive city hall with its ancient Homagehall, the Mediæval Imperial Palace and lots of beautifully restored old half-timbered houses. We’ll finish our round tour at the town hall at noon with a carillon with figurines telling the history of the city and the silver mining.

About 14.00 hrs we’ll take a train back to Wernigerode. From there we’ll take a charter bus and go to the glass factory at Derenburg. This factory “Harzkristall” ( is one of the very last sites, where hand glassblowing is still carried out in the traditional way. The method used is almost the same as 2,000 years ago.

Einblasen einer Lampe


The Derenburg factory was opened here by Sudeten German refugees after World War II. When they lost their homeland, they settled down at the edge of the Harz mountains because the environment could provide them with everything they needed to continue their glass business. In 1949 they started with a simple glass oven in an open field. Primitive working conditions, difficulty in acquiring raw materials and socialist restrictions didn’t prevent them from producing products which have been in high demand ever since. Their customers often pay high prices to get one of the rare pieces. After the wall came down, conditions changed dramatically and the company had to be saved by the provincial government. After privatisation in 2004 the situation eased. We’ll experience the art of glass blowing and, of course, you can try it yourself too. In their shop you may be tempted by one of the unique pieces.


In the late afternoon we’ll return by charter bus to our hotel in Wernigerode.


Around 9.00 we start a guided tour through the historical Wernigerode. We’ll start at the guildhall, one of the most beautiful guildhalls in Germany to survive the war.

Rathaus Wernigerode

This city hall was mentioned in official papers in the year 1227. The timber framed building that you see now was built on the same site in the 15th century. It was altered a few decades later and received its present appearance in the 16th century. After our guided tour you can explore the city with its historical centre on your own. There are hundreds of lovely restored half timbered houses, tiny, narrow alleys, quiet corners and little, odd houses.

After individual lunch we’ll take the ‘Wernigeröder Bimmelbahn’ up to the Castle of Wernigerode, known as the ‘Neuschwanstein of the North’. When we’re there we’ll visit the castle museum with its 40 showrooms. Here you’ll get an impression of the life of German high nobility at the end of the 19th century. Lovers of old art and ancient furniture will find this tour of great interest. Around 16.00 hrs we’ll go to Gernrode. Expected arrival time in Gernrode is about 19.30 hrs. Hotel in Gernrode.

Schloss Wernigerode


Steam adventure on metre gauge rails! Today we’ll be all together and while your partner enjoys taking pictures of the steam train you can listen to the sound of the locomotives, enjoy the countryside and think about how crazy these men must be to take one shot after another. Hotel in Gernrode


With our charter train we’ll go up to Alexisbad. While the gentlemen will play another day on the railway the ladies will do something different. We’ll go to a nice health spa in the Harz mountains and enjoy a relaxing day. You can choose between many different treatments or try the excellent cuisine of this hotel. On treatment is inclusive, you should not miss it!

Totally relaxed we’ll return in the late afternoon back to our hotel in Gernrode.



Around 10.00 we’ll leave Gernrode with a steam train to Quedlinburg. Quedlinburg has some of the most beautiful half-timbered houses in Germany and is a UNESCO heritage site as well. In the year 994 Quedlinburg was given its town ordinances and privileges. In the historic centre of the city you’ll find more than 1,200 frame houses, most of them fully restored. Quedlinburg is one of the largest conservation areas in Germany. The communists planned to demolish almost the whole city and replace it with concrete apartment blocks. Fortunately they didn’t raise the funds to do it before their time expired. From the Castle Hill you have a fantastic bird’s eye view over the city. We start with a guided city tour at the Roman church with its famous cathedral treasure. After our guided tour you may explore the city on your own. We’ll meet at 15.00 hrs back at the train station to go to Wernigerode, where our tour ends.

Quedlingburg am Markt


Line description

There are so many articles and books available about this particular line that we needn’t talk about the tunnel, the steep gradients and the beautiful countryside. But we need to say something about the photographic opportunities.

Doppeltraktion vor Birkenmoor

Time goes on and it didn’t stop in the Harz mountains either. The formerly very photogenic run through the city streets of Wernigerode has, sadly, been refurbished in the western style. With modern cars on the streets you’ll hardly find any good photo spot here.

"DDR-Bürger" mit Luftkoffer verlassen einen Zug

Most of the level crossings along the line have been changed immensely in recent decades, so they are not worth a picture any more. Railway stations are another matter. There are only a very few left still looking similar to the way they were 20 or 30 years ago. So we’ll focus on pictures in the countryside, the valleys, forests and meadows. However, there are some stations left with the demure and charms of the former German Democratic Republic and their railways, the ‘Deutsche Reichsbahn’. Of course we’ll take shots and videos at these rare stations.

We’ll visit all three depots of the network. Nordhausen usually only hosts one steam locomotive during the night. Because we’ve ordered two locomotives for our freight train we have the unique chance to see three locomotives under steam here.


We’ll try to arrange some typical “German Democratic Republic inhabitants” for our passenger train. In addition we’ll have two soldiers of the former National People’s Army organised for our train to the Brocken. To eliminate any attempts to leave the group via the green border to Niedersachsen they will have appropriate weapons ...

Within the limits of our budget, we’ll try to change all possible details back to the years between 1975 and 1989. It’s hard to convince the railway staff not to polish their locomotives every ten minutes. Because of our special request, some of the locomotives won’t be cleaned for several days – and won’t be parked inside the loco shed. At least with the Mallet we’ll try to get an authentic patina on it. We’ll remove all the brass toys from the outside of the engine and we’ll make the water taps (on the side water tanks) black (instead of chrome-nickel). The plates will state the locomotive belongs to the ‘Deutsche Reichsbahn’ – the east German state railway. With vinyl lettering, we’ll put the ‘DR’ (which stands for ‘Deutsche Reichsbahn’) back on the sides of the passenger coaches as well.

Viadukt Ilfeld


Small print

While travelling in Germany we can’t avoid following some rules which don’t apply in some other countries. In the forest it’s sometimes not allowed to leave the marked pathways. “Gardening” in the nature reserve of the Brocken is a big no-no. There are nature rangers around who won’t think it is a joke if anyone tries to clear away vegetation to get a better photo. The Harzer Schmalspurbahnen (Harz Narrow Gauge Railways) can’t guarantee that everything will work as planned and paid for. We need to consider that the line is going over the mountains, a tree blocking the rails can prevent us from travelling further for example. Bear in mind that we are using at least 50-year-old locomotives for our trains and technical problems may occur which are not covered by any insurance. The HSB don’t accept any liability regarding delays or train cancellations. So we can’t guarantee it either.

Doppelausfahrt Eisfelder Talmühle

If you can’t spare the time for the entire program, you may participate for a few days only. It’s essential that you register your wish even if you only want to come for a single day. If you want to pick the day where we’ll take our double headed train, please consider this particular day will cost you 375 Pounds without hotel or food, because of the high cost of the equipment. These are the net costs for just the train. This tour is definitely not designed for car chasers. For instance, the locos will wear some “decorations” which will only be removed at our photo positions.

We’ve booked medium class hotels within walking distance in Wernigerode and Nordhausen. In Gernrode we have a charter bus.

Am Heiligen Teich

Please expect a wide variety of weather conditions, and bring appropriate clothing. From sunshine with 22 degrees centigrade down to snow storms with minus three degrees - everything is possible.

The tour prices include half board except beverages. During the day you can enjoy cheap meals at the stations and, sometimes, we’ve planned a brief visit to a restaurant as well. Prices at the stations are reasonable, for example at the Brocken they’ll charge you just 5 Euros for a serving of pea soup with sausage. Spaghetti Bolognese is 5.70 Euros and schnitzel with potato salad 6.70 Euros.


Please bear in mind that travelling with trains, walking through depots and stations, boarding trains and getting off on the lineside has a risk of accidents which is not covered either by the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen (HSB) or FarRail Tours. Always use common sense when crossing roads and railway tracks. Neither the HSB nor FarRail Tours can be held responsible and will not accept any liability whatsoever in the case of any accident, damage or delay. We suggest you take out a comprehensive overseas accident and health insurance policy, and carry a small first aid kit.



The "Deutsche Reichsbahn" Returns to the Harz Mountains 16 to 32 participants £1,620
18.04.2010 – 23.04.2010 Single room surcharge £97
Registration Deadline: 20.02.2010
Harz Mountains Ladies' Special 4 to 20 participants £1,240
17.04.2010 – 23.04.2010 Single room surcharge £94
Registration Deadline: 20.02.2010

Minimum number of participants:      16
Maximum number of participants:     32

hinter Stiege

(This applies to the number of photographers and video film makers only.)

Contact us for the costs of participating in just parts of the tour and we will let you know price and availability.

The price includes:

Not included are:

100% Reichsbahn: Zettelübergabe


As a service to our UK-based clients FarRail Tours accepts and will continue to accept payments made out in Pound Sterling until further notice. However, please note that from January 28, 2009, all prices quoted in Pound Sterling are indicative only and are subject to change without prior notice. This measure was taken by FarRail Tours due to the unprecedented volatility in the international foreign exchange markets and its impact on the valuation of the Pound Sterling versus other major currencies, namely the Euro as FarRail Tours' accounting currency.


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